Listen Up! This provincial election campaign is going to be a blood bath

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Hugh Mackenzie
Huntsville Doppler

Between a Rock and a Hard Place … 

Knowing how to vote in the Ontario provincial election, which is a mere nine weeks away, may be easy for some but it will not be for me. Never in my memory has there been such a polarization of political philosophy or such a stark contrast between the two leading proponents in the coming campaign. The Liberals are outflanking the NDP on the left as they try to buy their way back into government with our tax dollars, and the so-called Progressive Conservatives appear to be veering further to the right. There seems to be no middle ground any more. It almost appears as if the battle lines are drawn in this province, between socialism and populism. This campaign is going to be a blood bath.

It is hard to believe that Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal Party can win another mandate to govern in Ontario. Wynne’s personal approval rating is somewhere between 12 and 17 per cent, depending on which poll you read. The government she has led has been riddled with scandal. Under her watch, hydro rates have increased to the point of real hardship for many Ontario families. The provincial debt has mushroomed to well over $300 billion, a sum so huge it is difficult for many to contemplate what that really means. It is also larger than any sub-government in the entire world!

The Liberal government in Ontario could care less about the debt they are piling on the backs of ordinary people for generations to come. If there was ever any doubt, just hear what MPP Bob Delaney, a member of the Wynne caucus had to say:

“We have tripled the debt and we are proud of it. Because we can afford it. It’s the responsible thing to do. It’s the correct thing to do. It’s what people have asked us to do and I would do it again.”

I can only shake my head.

In my view, Kathleen Wynne has created a welfare state in Ontario and her recent budget projections, adding yet another $8 billion to the provincial debt, indicate that she has no intention of stopping. By all the evidence, it should be pretty clear that she will be shown the door this June. But I wonder.

Éric Grenier is a CBC journalist. He conducts a poll tracker which is a compilation of all current available polls. He has a good track record for accuracy. His current projections are that if the election were held today, the Conservatives under Ford, would garner 42.1 per cent of the vote and would form a majority government. The Liberals would get 27.2 per cent of the vote and the NDP 23.5 per cent. In a legislature with 126 seats, this would result in 84 seats for a Ford government. At first blush, it seems like a shoe-in for Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives. But, again, I wonder.

For one thing, the election is two months away and anything can happen in that space of time. One need only go back to 1985 to be reminded of that. Frank Miller went into a provincial election with a 54 per cent approval rating but at the end of the day he was unable to hold on to the government for the Conservatives.

As well, it is difficult to know exactly what Doug Ford stands for. He uses all the correct catch phrases for Conservatives— smaller government, control of spending, help for the little guy, strict debt management and balanced budgets—but to date, no real plan and no real vision. Buzz words alone will not win an election.

In the meantime, Kathleen Wynne is giving away the store, followed closely by her NDP counterpart, Andrea Horwath. Just about everything is free or subsidized. Wynne’s most recent budget, with all of its goodies, will appeal to many who are more concerned about short-term gains than runaway deficits. Indeed, since the budget was tabled, Wynne’s approval numbers have increased.

People may not like Kathleen Wynne, but to replace her many will want to know that Doug Ford has a better plan for the future of Ontario and the people who live here. So far, we have not seen it.

Then, of course, there is Doug Ford himself. It will be interesting to see if Ontario is really ready for Trump-lite. Ford said recently that he doesn’t give “two hoots” about Donald Trump. But he has praised him in the past and said had he been a United States resident he would have voted for him. Trump and Ford have a number of similar traits. Both are bombastic, both are street fighters and both mistrust the media. And, like Trump, Ford Nation has a history that is somewhat checkered and could come back to bite the new leader of the Ontario Conservatives. And so, if it quacks like a duck and it walks like a duck…well…

All of the above is to say that this election campaign will be, in my view, much more of a horse race than current polling would indicate. Both Ford and Wynne are vicious campaigners. There will be no quarter given. The gloves will be off; the dirt will fly. At the end of the day, however, the choices will be stark and either outcome will come with a full basket of serious concerns. At this point in time, for me at least, when it comes to voting I am between a rock and a hard place. Not a pleasant place to be.

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22 Comments

  1. David Caswell on

    Hugh I must disagree with you.
    Ford has said he will look at finding efficiency in Government of 4%. I think that is positive.
    He has not said that he will give us more goodies. I think that is also good.
    If you were suddenly made captain of the Titanic I do not think that it would be the right thing to say, that on the next voyage we will have a new Jazz band and better fire works. Maybe as Captain it would be better to suggest we slow down and look for ice.

    • Hello Hugh:
      I can only “shake my head” as well Hugh, but like it or not Doug Ford read the tea leaves and ran a successful campaign to lead the PCs of Ontario.
      Characterizing him as being “Trump light” automatically and unfortunately (from my perspective) immediately costs votes from some PC members which I’m not convinced you wish to do.
      Doug Ford is the direct opposite of Premier Wynne which is what our province needs badly.
      An accomplished municipal councillor and successful business man who, I expect, would eventually reduce the outgoing cash flow and lessen the MONTHLY 1.4 BILLION $$ INTEREST cost projected by 2020 by the current liberal government.
      We need fewer “free” government handouts and civil servants to manage them and more
      “free enterprise” thinking to start getting out of the disastrous economic position that we find ourselves after years of scandal and waste.
      Thank you for your continuing articles crafted with discernment, enthusiasm and care for all.

  2. Don McCormick on

    THIS ARTICLE READS LIKE A CAMPAIGN FOLDER AGAINST THE LIBERALS. IS IT ETHICAL TO USE YOUR POSITION ON A PUBLIC NEWS SITE TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST ONE PARTY (AND, BY IMPLICATION FOR THE PCs ). I THINK NOT.
    THE NEW PC LEADER IS A TRUMP-STYLE POLITICIAN AND I FIND IT VERY FRIGHTENING THAT THIS STYLE OF POLITICS IS MAKING ITS WAY INTO CANADA (SPECIFICALLY ONTARIO)

    • Hi Don: it’s good to hear from a fellow Queen’s alum. But surely this is not the first “Commentary” that you have read. They are all just a tad right of a Globe and Mail editorial, i.e. east of Attila the Hun.

    • Donald Trump has been very effective in spite of MASSIVE opposition from the leftists/Democrats and the globalist media. Trump is a desperately needed corrective to the neoliberal policies of the Obama administration and the globalist neocon policies of the Bush years (along with the neoliberalism of the Clinton administration before that). The leftist leaders believe they control the direction of the U.S. government and are hoping to lead into elitist globalism (read Third World feudalism). All of the leadership of the Democratic Party have become quite wealthy in spite of the dictum of Dem President, Harry Truman who said, “Anyone who gets rich in politics is a crook.”

      The global elites understand that to put their plans in place , the middle class must be gutted. Huge government spending is part of that plan to A) buy the votes of the increasing numbers of the poor and B) Further increase the disparity between the super-wealthy and everyone else. Look at the Third World as their model. The Third World nations have virtually no middle class–just the wealthy elite and the serfs who provide whatever labour is deemed necessary. Central and South America is dominated by such a system today. Central America is already trying to export their poor people to the U.S. through illegal immigration (there are “advice stations” in N. Mexico to assist illegal immigrants in gaining access to the U.S.) . Illegals have turned California into an unsustainable mess with their tent cities that are now taking over in Oregon. The streets are loaded with human urine and feces. You can now get a map online to help you avoid the crime-ridden tent cities. The debt of California is also skyrocketing–they are spending billions to support the illegal aliens. It is unsustainable. Go on YouTube and watch any of the videos of California Professor, Victor Davis Hanson. He goes around lecturing in California to give a wake up call to silly liberals there who support the ridiculous policies of the Dems who control California. Neoliberal policies ruin every jurisdiction that they touch. Years of corrupt, scandal-ridden Democratic Party control have led to much of Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City and Baltimore, becoming crime-ridden, stinking wastelands with crumbling infrastructure. Watch California implode. With the Liberals in charge, we can expect Ontario to go in that direction.

      All over the world, the globalist elites are being defeated because those who are politically savvy understand that the only ones becoming more prosperous in the high spend/high tax environment created by neoliberals like Wynne are the BANKERS, who hold the notes on government debt. Servicing that debt leaves less and less to fund needed infrastructure and services. Losing 300,000 reasonably well-paying manufacturing jobs and then replacing them with 300,000 SUPER well-paying government jobs is a way to end the middle class. Government jobs do NOTHING to feed, house and clothe the people who need it and put layer after layer of government bureaucrat rulers over us all.

      • Karen Wehrstein on

        And Hillary Clinton is Satanic and has murdered multiple people and is running a child sex ring out of a pizza parlour, uh huh.

        Ford supporter? You’re embarrassing him.

    • Don–every media organization engages in “partisan” political persuasion these days. It is laughable that we should fear “Trump-style politics invading Ontario”. If it is “invading”, it is because of the hard-left policies of the Liberals. Neoliberal policies are causing Western nations to implode worldwide and the people have had enough.

    • Terry McCaffery on

      Hi Don, You know full well that Hugh MacKenzie has been a Conservative shill his whole adult life! Just Sayin’!

    • Dave Stewart on

      To Don.
      Forget the capitals. How do you interpret Hugh’s opinion ( and we still have free speech in this country ) as a “Liberal campaign folder ” when Hugh finishes with being “between a rock and a hard place ” as to how to vote ?

  3. Karen Wehrstein on

    I think any Canadian politician who tries to ape Trump so as to match his electoral success is making a big mistake. I also think Doug Ford knows this and that’s why he is now distancing himself from Trump. Which actually makes him smarter than Trump, so there’s a difference. I have to agree on the bombasticism and lack of thought-out plans, however. Anyone who doesn’t put the effort into envisioning how the government can better serve citizens is not there to serve citizens, but only looking for power and fame for himself.

    If the campaign’s a bloodbath, it’ll only be a bloodbath by Canadian standards. I doubt Ford is going to tell Wynne during a debate that he’ll put her in jail, or have supporters say she’s Satanic or has murdered multiple people or is running a child sex ring out of a pizza parlour — all things said of Hillary Clinton by Trump, his supporters (including Russian trolls) and right-wing pundits . I don’t think Canadians would put up with that either. The mood, I think, is reactive *against* Trump-style politics at this point — even in the USA, where special elections (their by-elections) have shown a big swing to the Democratic Party. If I were either Wynne or Ford, I’d be careful about negative campaigning even by Canadian standards.

  4. David Harrison on

    You make every justification for dumping Wynne, and then you susinctly define Ford’s campaign. I don’t see the dilemma you are trying to point out.

  5. Liberal partisans who are upset about Doug Ford seemingly on his way to victory this spring should take pause for some reflection. The situation in this province right now is very similar to that of the Toronto mayoral election in 2010. George Smitherman (who had served in the McGuinty government along with Kathleen Wynne) campaigned under a hard left agenda that many voters recoiled from, especially after the disastrous tenure of David Miller. Smitherman, like Wynne, struck many people as arrogant and blind to their concerns, interested only in pushing an agenda that would appeal to the far left of centre segment of the Liberal party, and the NDP. The result of course was the election of Doug Ford’s brother, something that in retrospect many people would agree was an unfortunate outcome. History is going to repeat itself here. In my opinion, the OLP brain trust would have been wise to stay more near the centre, with a person like Sandra Pupatello leading the party. Instead, they have pushed hard to the left, and it appears the people of this province are going to punish them for that. This is a lesson that the Trudeau government would be very wise to learn as well.

    • Some astute observations, Greg. Hopefully, the people of Ontario will be wise enough to see that Liberal policies are leading to a place where most of us middle-class folk should be unwilling to go. Historically, it is small business that has provided the greatest number of decent middle-class jobs. Liberal policies always work against the interests of small businesses.

  6. Tanya Sprathoff on

    OK, just for fun, I’m throwing this down. Green, anyone? Mike actually has a plan. Might be worth a read.

    • Terry McCaffery on

      I have proudly voted for the Green Party Candidate in the last two Provincial elections and will do so again! I find all three leaders of the major provincial parties unpalatable!!!

  7. Tanya nailed it. If you can’t support either Doug Ford or Kathleen Wynne in Parry Sound—Muskoka, you have a real alternative in Matt Richter and the Green Party under Mike Schreiner.

    Check out what they stand for. And if you haven’t done so already, you may be in for a surprise: this is not a one-issue party.

  8. Good remarks Don Coates.
    The Wynne Liberals have to go. Can anyone really disagree?
    Ford is holding his cards close and wisely so. The election is his to loose.
    We all know that whatever his platform is, the moment he devulges it the left wing media will explode into a frenzie of negativity. So why offer them that opportunity? Right now Ford is the “anybody but Wynne” candidate. I think that will carry the day.

    I wish someone would offer a good legal opinion upon cancellation of the ruinous energy contracts the Liberals have saddled us with. I believe that an order I council can nullify a contract. Yes? No? Please someone comment.
    .

  9. If you vote Green, you will split the “change” vote and end up with the status quo Liberals. Only a majority Conservative government under a “change” mandate can deliver the changes we want to the way we have been mishandled by the Liberals.

  10. Karen Wehrstein on

    If you oppose robocalls as an election tactic, don’t vote for Ford. I received one today… didn’t listen to it as I was in the middle of something, so cannot say what he might have said that was untrue. But I disagreed with even receiving such a call. It’s not something I consider acceptable in our politics and I hope that other Canadians don’t come to think of it as acceptable.

  11. The whole process/election is just a joke. No matter whom we vote for, we loose.
    None of them are worth casting a vote for!
    Flip a coin and hope for the best?

  12. “Sure, Bob, let’s just give up on democracy.”

    When you look at what we have to vote for democracy
    has given up on us.
    It’s not going to be an election, it’s going to be a circus
    and we have to vote for whom we think is the best clown.

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